A Blind Mans Hobby

I had always known that blindness was a possibility, now it was a reality. I had just left the eye institute at John Hopkins in Baltimore, with the news that nothing more could be done and I was now legally blind.

On the way back to Boise Idaho, I pondered what life would be like now. I had worked for about forty two years without having an outside hobby. I was not able to continue my job, which was very sight intensive, reading building prints, developing budgets and making site inspections. So what hobby did I take up, photography, which is one of the most unlikely hobbies for a person with macular degeneration, that can no longer read a book or a newspaper nor drive a car.

I am very fortunate to have enough peripheral vision to see large type and a large computer screen. I bought a point and shoot Sony H1 camera and fitted a LCD shade with a magnifier. I was able to compose photos with that set up. I am now using a Sony H9 with the same set up. This camera has a large LCD screen and along with the magnifier I am able to do a fair job of composing my shots. I am however, often surprised at some of the elements in my photos once I load them on my computer screen. As an example, I took a photo of a red bike rack from a low level, when I uploaded the photo there was a red Coke truck that made the photo interesting, I had not seen the truck during the shooting of the bike rack.

I cannot see the expressions on a face or the feather pattern of a bird. With the camera and a magnified computer screen I can once again see these details. So photography for me has been an amazing experience. It allows me to once again enjoy many of the details I miss in everyday life.

I have decided to tell this story, not to show how well I have adapted to my loss of central vision but in the hopes that someone reading this might pass this on to a visually impaired person or someone with a handicap and it might help them know that they may be able to do things that others might not think is possible.

I would be happy to talk with anyone that can benefit from my experience

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